New Delhi: The country’s largest power generation utility, NTPC Ltd, on Thursday blamed US conglomerate General Electric Co., or GE, for supplying faulty equipment to Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd, the former Dabhol Power Co.
“Certain problems which are appearing are surprising. What we have been informed is that this is a very chronic problem. There are design deficiencies,” NTPC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma said at a session of the India Electricity 2008 conference in the Capital.
The Union government had claimed that four of the six “9 FA-class” turbines supplied by GE to the 2,150MW power project in Maharashtra were defective.
The Centre had also raised questions about the shortfall in power generation from these turbines. “There are design issues... There are more problems, which we do not want to discuss now,” Sharma later told reporters.
The Dabhol project was conceived in the 1990s and was originally promoted by Enron Corp., which filed for bankruptcy in 2001. It was renamed Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd, or RGPPL, after it was taken over by a combine of public sector banks, the Maharashtra government, GAIL India Ltd, NTPC and financial institutions. NTPC and GAIL hold a 28.33% stake each in the project.
Besides the loss of power generation capability, government officials say that repeated failures entail substantial repair costs. Excluding the cost of spares, this has been estimated at Rs77 crore.
“We are aware of the concerns about the Dabhol plant and understand the importance of this project to the people of India. We look forward to seeing the Dabhol plant running and supplying much-needed power to the people of India,” a GE spokesperson said.
The government had even threatened to ban GE from all future public sector power projects and review its alliance with state-owned equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.
“If GE has to garner market share in India, the company has to work out all these design and technology issues,” said a Mumbai-based power sector analyst, who did not wish to be named.